All-Time Indians: Tito Francona

 

Name: John Patsy Francona       Position: Left Field        
Nick Name: Tito             Number: 14,24          
Tribe Time: 1959-1964           DOB: 11/04/1933        
Accolades: 1961 All-Star, Top 5 MVP 1959          
Stats G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS SB% OBP SLG AVG OPS ISOP
Best Season (1961) 155 592 87 178 30 8 16 85 272 56 52 2 1 67% .363 .459 .301 .822 .159
Career 835 2926 413 832 153 19 85 378 1278 296 358 21 8 72% .353 .437 .284 .790 .152

The Cleveland Indians were Francona's third team after leaving the military in 1955. He came to the team in 1959 when he was traded for Larry Doby the second time (the first time was from the Orioles to the White Sox) this time coming from Detroit. While he played his first season in Cleveland in centerfield, he soon moved to left and then to first base. By the end of his career Tito played in more than 100 games at four different positions (LF, RF, CF and 1B). 

From 1959 through 1963 Francona was one of the top offensive performers on the Indians along with catcher Johnny Romano and first baseman Vic Power (in fact, Francona took over first in 1962 when Power left the team). He hit at least 10 home runs each of those seasons as a light hitting outfielder, topping out with 20 in 1959. He also batted .363 that season, his career high. In 1961 he had his most productive season, setting career highs in runs, RBI and triples.

After a subpar 1964 season, Francona was purchased by the St. Louis Cardinals, his first of five more teams before ending his career. In his entire career he hit 125 home runs, 85 of which were with the Indians. His offensive contributions were enough on their own to make him one of the greatest Indians left fielders in team history. His son Terry followed in his father's footsteps in 1988 by joining the Indians himself. The younger Francona came back in 2012 and is the current manager of the Indians.

About Joseph Coblitz

Joseph is the primary writer and editor of BurningRiverBaseball.com and has been since it's inception in 2011. He is a graduate of the University of Akron and currently resides in Goodyear, Arizona.

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